Windsor was often called the "breadbasket" of colonial Sydney, and in 1810 became the third settlement of the fledgling penal colony. So much history, both fact and fiction surrounds the town.

Outside the Macquarie Arms Inn in Thompson Square at the top end of Windsor during colonial times, visitors and locals witnessed convict floggings, hangings and even the sale of a wife. Before elections, politicians shouted from the balcony of the Fitzroy Hotel a little further down the road, and many claimed victories before voting had closed.

Today, many historical buildings endure, although modern Windsor seems tame and quiet. Some shopfronts are now closed, like in many country towns of New South Wales, but we have faith that Windsor will return to its influence high above the river.

Windsor Chinese Restaurant

Address: 88 George Street, Windsor
Phone: 02 4577 3647
Hours: Daily, 11.30am lunch, 5pm to 9pm dinner

A popular Windsor restaurant with two generous rooms, Windsor Chinese Restaurant can accommodate large groups and the experienced staff know how to adapt to last minute groups.

Originally owned by his father, Adrian Yen took over the reins a few years back. Fortunately for all who come to Windsor, diners remain loyal and happily fed.

A typical menu of garlic prawns, Mongolian lamb, chicken and broccoli or sesame chicken is all delicious and also available to meet special dietary needs.

TripAdvisor writers speak:
"Went to Windsor Chinese Restaurant last night and had a delicious 3 course meal at around 9pm. It was convenient that this restaurant was still open as a lot of other restaurants had already closed their kitchens for the night. The food was fresh and a large portion. I would recommend you all to try the deep-fried ice cream … as they were delicious."

Owner Adrian often creates and tests new menu items, and customer input is the first test. Then he tests the time required to create the dish. Consequently, every dish provides an individual flavour and time for preparation varies.

Family owned Windsor Chinese is perhaps the longest-serving restaurant in Windsor at 39 years old.

Lime & Coconut Cafe

Address: 250 George Street, Windsor
Phone: 0408 316 157
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am, Sat 7am, Sun 8am, Closed mid-afternoon daily

Lime & Coconut is a charming little café at the foot of George Street. With its 1900s Windsor ambience, locals line up for the 7am caffeine fix. Around 7am, the big breakfast crowd turns out for a feast that ensures you won't leave hungry: waffles and Nutella, eggs of your choice. Salads at lunch are generous and fresh with Hawkesbury produce sourced from Windsor, Cattai, Pitt Town, Bilpin and Wilberforce.

Lime & Coconut serves up old-school lemonade when summer temperatures soar, and we endorse the magnificent Lime & Coconut cheesecake for a summer afternoon treat! Food is fresh with a range of certified organic products and if you need gluten or dairy free, this is your café. Vegan and vegetarian options are also on offer.

King Carlos beans are roasted in small batches and this brand is the current rage with locals. L&C keeps an immaculate lime coloured espresso machine, and there's no bitterness in this coffee.

You won't want to overlook the homewares and personal beauty products displayed around the café either. All are for sale.

A recycled vintage look is unique to this café and of course the colour lime is everywhere inside and at the welcoming front door.

Lollies 'n' Stuff International House of Candy

Address: 123 The Mall
Phone: 02 4587 7913
Hours: Open daily, 9am 'til late

If you love sweets, this is your store. There's stacks and stacks of sweets from floor to ceiling! This is a lolly shop perhaps like no other in Australia.

You will find childhood favourites and new yummies from many countries, with a range of candy, lollies and drinks to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The heavenly smell of sweet wafts out the door on The Mall. However, if you can't make it to Lollies 'n' Stuff, don't fret nor fuss: order online and Lollies 'n' Stuff will deliver to your door!

Jewellery by a Farmer's Daughter

Address: 131 The Mall
Phone: 02 4587 9013
Hours: Mon to Fri 9.30am to 5pm, Sat 9.30am to 4pm

Locals refer to this mainstay on The Mall as 'the farmer's daughter'. With eclectic, unusual, charming and vintage items, this enchanting shop has it all: jewellery, clothing, housewares, decorative home items.

Owner Alicia Goldstein, an artist in her own right, is a designer of clothing, jewellery and clever quotes. We wear a fabulous necklace designed from bits and pieces of 1940s buttons, Asian fans, pocket watch chains, all colourful and shiny objects that caught Alicia's artistic eye. We always elicit comments when we wear this Alicia original.

Mentally prepare yourself for an hour-or-two-browse of show stopping pieces and sentimental favourites (we often overlook a terrific item in our first walk through only to find it as we continue to browse).

Take note of Alicia's workshop space. Never short of clever ideas, she opens this space for workshops of many types: learn to sew, special occasion sewing, Christmas stockings from recycled items. For those with an interest in the future there's palmistry or learning to read Tarot cards.

Guy Stuff Windsor

Address: 156 The Mall
Phone: 02 4577 2797
Hours: Open daily and Thu late night shopping

At The Mall's flagship store Guy Stuff, you will find every item relating to sport: jerseys, retro jerseys, jumpers, footy shorts, socks, NRL, AFL and club garb. Row after row in every size, with many styles and certainly shapes. A warm soft blanket emblazoned with your club logo for those footy games is perhaps your best investment when winter weather comes upon us.

If you are fond of a drink, there's Jack Daniels (or Jim Beam) paraphernalia as well as logo pool balls, vintage wall clocks and tin signs to jazz up your man cave at home.

Board games, playing cards for those winter nights will keep the family entertained and, for those who collect, a large selection of coins and model cars are on hand.

Guy Stuff is one life-size store and if you can't find your item here, owner Darren Pead has an amazing number of selections online - more than 10,000 when we last asked.

Nine50 Peruvian Silver Jewellery & Giftware

Address: 2/254 George Street
Phone: 02 4587 9509
Hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am to 4pm, Sat 10am to 2pm, closed Sun and public holidays

If you haven't found Nine50, you have missed a highlight of Windsor. The shop sources exquisite hand-crafted silver from Peru along with fair trade gifts you won't find elsewhere. Peruvian silver is unique - 95 per cent silver.

Peruvian silversmiths are heirs of long traditions so every item in the shop is handcrafted using techniques handed down over hundreds of years. Proprietor Lee-Ann Kelly travels to Peru to meet with artisans and artisan groups and to select stock specifically for Nine50.

Alpaca clothing (we love the colourful socks and winter hats for toddlers to teens) is also stocked. The knee-high socks have been very popular with the teens in our family. Colourful bags line the walls of the shop and mirror the sun and bright light of South America. These are always part of the summer collection.

Take time to browse - the glass cases throughout the store are home to so many beautiful pieces. Making a decision for the perfect bracelet or stunning earrings is a challenge. We would buy one of every item in Nine50. Not to worry: the staff are always helpful when you must make a decision.

Windsor Mall Sunday Market

Phone: 0418 869 685
Hours: Sun 9am to 3.30pm

At the Sunday markets on The Mall, we make a habit whatever the season to stock up on the tasty produce. Additional produce vendors have recently secured a place to hawk their wares, extending the range of food on offer.

From Orange we enjoy corn, lettuce, potatoes, dark kale and fresh eggs. In summer, deep red strawberries, blueberries and ripe juicy stone fruit from Bilpin and Pitt Town have been our favourites.

A vendor selling exotic spices attracts a crowd - we need cumin and curry for a new recipe. Nearby, shoppers crowd around the jams, jellies and honey vendors. Be prepared: many locals arrive early to purchase the best produce.

Craft vendors under colourful umbrellas line George Street for two pedestrian-only blocks. By mid-morning, crowds have arrived, cafés are buzzing and parking is scarce. The aroma of fresh coffee is pervasive and the scent of pancakes sends crowds to a café or a bakery. This is Windsor's "eat street".

Music can be heard up and down The Mall and where Baker Street intersects George Street, Windsor's familiar paddlewheel water feature rotates slowly. The crowd is polite, only mild jostling. Heavy rain is the only thing that will keep vendors and shoppers away!